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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 13: The Pirate Crew Set Sail
An upset Tom decides to leave home. Feeling "friendless and forsaken," he pities himself and sobs for his plight in life. He tells his best friend, Joe Harper, that he is going away forever and asks for his forgiveness for all his faults. Joe confesses that he is feeling the same way as Tom and asks to join him. They decide to go away together to Jackson Island, which is three miles down the Mississippi River. They also decide to take Huck along with them. They plan to escape in the dead of night on a log raft. They each gather supplies for the journey - food, wires and hooks - and spread the word round the village that something would happen soon.
Deciding to pose as pirates, Tom gives himself the title of "The Black Avenger of the Spanish Main," Huck calls himself the "Red Handed," and Joe Harper "The Terror of the Seas." They start off with Tom in command. At around two oíclock, in the morning, they land on the island and store their provisions in the tent. They build a fire, have a midnight feast, and talk of pirates and Indians. Gradually, the three of them drift off to sleep, but not before Tom and Joe say their prayers. They have been struck by their conscience that they have done something wrong by running away from home, and both are unable to sleep. It also troubles them that they have taken away food from their home without permission and feel it is stealing. The carefree Huck, however, shares none of their guilt.
Tom, Joe, and Huck run away from home, pretending to be pirates. They sail on a log raft down to Jackson Island, where they feast on the food that they have stolen. Gradually, they become drowsy. However, Tom and Joe are plagued by their guilt for having run away from home and stealing food. They are so bothered by their conscience they even say their prayers with no one standing over them to make them do it. By contrast, Huck feels no guilt, for he has no real home to leave and has often taken food in order to survive.
It is important to notice that Tom and Huck show respect for one another in this chapter. Tom is well read and knows lots about pirates. He tells his friends how pirates capture ships and steal treasure. He even uses nautical terminology as they are sailing down the Mississippi. Huck asks questions, which Tom can easily answer; the illiterate Huck is impressed with his friendís ability to read and his wide knowledge. On the other hand, Tom is impressed that Huck Finn knows how to smoke and seems to enjoy doing it. The two boys, raised in entirely different environments, respect one anotherís differences.
It is also important to notice that Jacksonís Island, with its beauty and freedom, have made Tom and Huck forget all about the murder. No mention is ever made of Injun Joe or Muff Potter. The boys have simply left their troubles behind to exist in an imaginary world of pirates, freedom, and friendship.